Fulfilling a long-standing demand from Congress legislators, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday announced 19 new districts in Rajasthan.
This is the first time in 15 years that the state is creating new districts. Rajasthan had 33 districts before the change.
Gehlot said Rajasthan is the biggest state geographically in the country and that there are many districts in the state where distance between two corners is over 100 km, making it difficult for people to avail government services. “If the districts are smaller than it helps in maintaining effective law and order, better administration can be provided.”
He admitted that other states in the country have been ahead of Rajasthan in creating new districts. Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state by area, has 52 districts. It has an estimated population of 72 million. Rajasthan has a population of around 78 million — and with the increase, it will also now have 52 districts.
The new 19 districts are Anoopgarh, which was part of Ganganagar; Balotra (Barmer); Beawar (Ajmer); Kekri (Ajmer); Deeg (Bharatpur); Deedwana-Kuchaman (Nagaur); Dudu (Jaipur); Gangapur City (Sawai Madhopur); Jaipur North; Jaipur South; Jodhpur East; Jodhpur West; Kotputli-Behror (Jaipur-Alwar); Khertal (Alwar); Neem kaThana (Sikar); Phalodi (Jodhpur); Salumber (Udaipur); Sanchore (Jalore); and Shahpura (Bhilwara).
Gehlot’s announcement came in the Rajasthan assembly when he was responding to the discussion on the appropriation and finance bills.
He said this budget was the fifth budget of the government with no new taxes and that it has been appreciated by the public. Gehlot specifically named the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme, urban MNREGA, a subsidised ₹500 gas cylinder, and the return to the Old Pension Scheme.
“The PM and the finance minister are opposing the OPS but it will not stop, and we will also approach the Supreme Court. The OPS should be implemented across the country.”
Gehlot also announced that the increased ₹25 lakh package of the Chiranjeevi health Insurance Scheme will be effective from March 30.
Criticising the state budget passed on Friday by the house, deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore of the BJP said: “The government which is facing infighting for the last four years has presented its last budget. But this budget is impractical, with an eye on the polls, and misguided.”
“I am not against the OPS and it is ok if implemented but you are leaving a tough road ahead for the coming government.” Rathore added.